The No-Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley offers gentle ways to help your baby sleep through the night, tear free. Pantley states that if you desperately want your baby to sleep better and don't want to let your baby cry it out, then this book is for you. I want to put an emphasis on the word desperately mentioned above. The methods in this books require a lot of time and work (often a lot more than leaving your child to cry it out). But for many parents the extra time and effort is well worth it since it doesn't result in any crying. As Pantley puts it, her methods requires a lot of time and patience, but she chooses that over crying.
Pantley suggests a ten step plan to help your child sleep better. She came up with this plan after much research, personal experience and work with other families. Included as part of this plan are a bunch of different methods to choose from to help your child sleep better. See Sleep Solutions for 0-4 Months and Sleep Solutions for 4 Months-2 Years as well as her sleep logs.
Pantly is a firm believer that letting a child cry it out is not the way to go. She goes into many reasons why she does not believe in it, why others do not agree with it and why it is the wrong approach. While I don't agree with much of what she has to say on this subject (and personally don't enjoy how she infers that you are not a sensitive or caring parent if you let your child cry), I do think that if you can get your baby to sleep well with no crying, then great! Go for it! I'm pretty sure there is no parent out there that actually enjoys to hear their child cry. I know I don't.
One discovery that Pantley made that I thought was worth noting was that she found that co-sleeping-breastfeeding babies can sleep all night. Pretty much everything I've read out there says that if you want to do this you'll be up nursing your baby all night long for possibly years (which "they" usually say is normal and expected). I love that Pantley offers an alternative to this since I'm sure there are many parents out there who want to co-sleep and breastfeed but do not want to be up all night long for months (or years!) on end.
I was impressed that Pantley mentions that it is important to get baby to sleep so that parents can get some sleep (and also so they don't feel resentful and frustrated toward their child). Many parents I know think that be a good parent they have to totally neglect their own needs. I believe that healthy, well rounded parents are better able to take take of their children. Think for a moment how much better you function when you are healthy and well rested compared to when you are ill and sleep deprived. Plus, I believe that children will better learn that it is important to take care of and respect themselves when they see you do the same.
Overall, I really liked this book. It was an interesting and easy read which is especially good for the sleep deprived parent! Her 10 step process is easy to follow and gives great direction for parents. She has a bunch of great suggestions to help your child sleep better that are indeed gentle approaches. Although this book is more geared toward the "attachment parent", I think it has useful tips for any kind of parent. In fact, I even used (unknowingly) several of her suggestions with my son Joshua.
Change your baby's sleep association - For frequent breastfeeders, night time bottle feeders and pacifier users
Help baby to fall back to sleep in her crib - for crib sleepers
Help your baby fall back to sleep on his own and move him out of your bed and into his own - tips to help a co-sleeping baby move to a crib
Help your baby fall back to sleep with another person's assistance - especially useful for co-sleeping and breastfeeding babies
Help your baby to fall back to sleep on his own while you continue to breastfeed and co-sleep - For Breastfeeding and co-sleeping babies
Sleep Solutions for 0-4 months
Sleep Solutions for Older Babies (4 months to 2 years)
Ten Steps to Helping Your Baby Sleep All Night